Sustainability and cryptoassets, new issues for Spanish post-trading

14 November 2019
  • Spain's leading post-trading forum, organised by Cecabank, identifies regulation, sustainability and digitisation as the major challenges to be addressed
  • Several institutions and industry representatives took part in the event, including the CNMV, IOSCO, the ECB and the Bank of Spain
  • Experts consider the independence and specialisation of the companies in the pension plan industry to be key to investor protection

Digital transformation is setting new challenges in the Spanish post-trading segment. This is one of the main conclusions drawn during the sixth edition of the Securities Services Conference organised by Cecabank. A large group of national and international experts and analysts has focused on analysing the challenges of post-trading in Spain in an environment subject to ongoing transformation. For six years Cecabank has brought together professionals from the industry at this event to debate and contemplate operational and regulatory changes that have a direct effect on trading.

An increasing need for the figure of an independent depositary; The arrival of new players in the financial sector and the challenges posed by market fragmentation were some of the ideas discussed during the conference. Furthermore, several of the speakers highlighted how digitisation can bring significant improvements to the Securities Services sector, without which there would be no understanding of the financial sector.

6th edition of the conference

This sixth conference was attended by more than 200 people from securities brokers, CII and pension fund management companies, private equity companies and banks. All of them shared their impressions on current topics. Attendees debated topics including the overall outlook for technology and regulation affecting securities services, the present and future of the ECB-T2S projects, the current state of pensions, and cryptoassets, the assets of the future.

Investor protection remains a key component. In fact, a survey conducted on more than 200 professionals in the sector who attended the seminar revealed the importance of the independence and specialisation of companies in the pension plan industry in preserving investors' interests.

Participation of institutions such as the CNMV, Bank of Spain and IOSCO

The opening ceremony included the participation of Cecabank's CEO, José María Méndez. During the ceremony, he pointed out that "a legislative package on sustainable finance is being prepared by the EU, where there will be a leading role for the depositary as regards green products once the taxonomy and the benchmarks are agreed upon, as announced by the vice-president of the European Commission, Dombrovskis".

For the vice-chair of the CNMV, Ana Martínez-Pina, "the role of management company depositaries is highly significant at a time like the present, when the number and type of managers is increasing and the assets under management are increasingly relevant". In her opening speech, he highlighted the most relevant aspects of the sector. She also commented on the main regulatory developments and referred to the risks and implications of cryptoassets.

Tajinder Singh, Deputy General Secretary of IOSCO, was the next person to speak. During his speech, he highlighted that "the development of sustainable financial markets is important. Both IOSCO and its members, who regulate more than 95% of capital markets, make great efforts in this area. In addition, at IOSCO we have a Sustainable Finance Network and a Growth and Emerging Markets Committee on this area".

Juan Ayuso, General Manager of Operations, Markets and Payment Systems at the Bank of Spain, was given the task of bringing the event to a close. During his speech, he focused on the role of financial market infrastructures in managing and mitigating both the physical and transitional risks associated with climate change. He explained that the CPMI-IOSCO Principles already offer the necessary framework for the preparation of plans and actions, and he urged infrastructures to implement them immediately.

The challenges of post-trading in Spain

Through these conferences, Cecabank has been able to consolidate its position as a trusted benchmark in the banking and large corporations sector, as well as becoming the main promoter of the ecosystem that gives structures to the Spanish post-trading industry.

The institution is undergoing a full-scale digital transformation of its Securities Services business. Digitisation is, currently, one of the fields with the biggest impact on the strategies of financial institutions. Faced with this situation, Cecabank has chosen to strengthen its value chain to make use of all the opportunities offered by this new environment. Following on from this, Javier Planelles, Operational Service Division Manager, stated during the conference that “it is an operational business in which scale and technology are two essential drivers”.

Cecabank currently provides securities services to more than 70 entities that manage collective investment institutions, pension funds and EPSVs (Voluntary Pension Plan Providers), as well as venture capital firms, credit institutions, insurance companies, and securities companies and agencies.

In the past year, the bank has increased the volume of assets held under custody by 15.5%, reaching 157 billion euros. Income from depositary services, meanwhile, increased by 7.4% to 115 billion euros. The basis for this improvement was the growth of assets managed by the 25 management companies for which Cecabank provides its services.